Even as God has left His indelible print upon each of our lives with His love, so He calls each of us to leave this same print upon the lives of those who live every day in the destructive grips of poverty. God has called NRN be a conduit of His love and resources through the community of Short Term Mission teams (STM).
Why We Go
Short Term Missions are the pipeline through which flows the power of individual relationships. Participants in STM and the NRN community are equally impacted by the love and generosity of Nicaraguans as we connect with an individual, family, ministry or local communities in Nicaragua. You will walk away from the STM experience with the face and name of a special person that you formed a connection with through work, play, prayer and service. You can be assured they will never forget you, and they will hope to never be forgotten. Such connection has brought many people from the US back to Nicaragua over and over again; eager to reconnect and deepen their bonds with people they have come to know and love as friends and family.
We encourage you to connect with God’s purpose for you and His people in Nicaragua by joining a Short Term Mission trip with one of our participating churches.
Stories of Those Who Go
God has a plan! Jeff Conlogue, Crosspoint Church, Watford City, ND
I had the privilege of leading our team to meet with Pastor Lazaro & his church at TAV El Recreo (not too far from La Quinta). It was the first time that any of our 13 member team had met with this church (seven of our team were on their first trip to Nicaragua). For the last two years our teams had been visiting with a church in Leon for two years now but we had to change our relationship. But God had a plan!
We arrived at the church and surprised them. Due to a small error, they had no idea that we were coming. We had been there for just under an hour and Pastor Lazaro asked our Youth Pastor (Gordy) to preach that morning. With just ten minutes notice, he preached a great sermon on faith. As we got to know their membership better, we found out that they had been praying for two years that a team from North America would come to visit them and within a week of our visit one of their members had a dream that a team was coming. Our team’s arrival was an answered prayer. God had a plan!
Pastor Lazaro and his congregation are a very humble group of people. Whenever we asked how we could pray for them and what their needs were, it was almost always for prayer for health or faith. We were trying to find out what type of needs they had so we could use some of our resources to fill them, but they kept asking for prayer (which we gladly provided). We didn’t want to ask outright “what do you want” so as a team we started looking for things. One of the things we noticed was the old keyboard that they were using, so we put it on our list that we were compiling. The next morning Pastor Lazaro excitedly met us and told us he wanted to tell us a story. He explained how he had a friend from El Salvador that had a business in Nicaragua and that he had been praying with this man over a year ago for his business. He had lost touch with this man and that morning he had called the Pastor and told him that his business was not doing great but he had some extra money and wanted to buy him a new keyboard. God had a plan!
As the week went on I was asked to preach on the last night of our trip. Recently I’ve been reflecting on the different skills that I’ve acquired over the years with my various job. My experiences in the Navy and the civilian world have prepared me to be able to serve him in many ways but as I looked at them combined, I realized that in the big picture I was being prepared for something. So I took the story of Nehemiah rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem. God had him in a humble role as the King’s cupbearer. He ended up leading a team after God’s plan came to fruition taking a humble cupbearer to lead a group of people in rebuilding a wall in just 52 days. God put each of the people who helped build the wall in the perfect place to accomplish his plan.
The point to my story is simply this: God is constantly putting opportunities in front of each and every one of us. Sometimes they are not the most exciting jobs or experiences, but they are all part of a much bigger picture. As a team, we were able to meet all the needs that were presented to us because of the experiences and skills that we had. We had a mini VBS, a marriage seminar, teaching on faith and lots of great community time during prayer walks and food distribution. We had a team that God put together to meet each of the needs. God had a plan!
If you didn’t catch the timing, our church first started visiting Nicaragua two years ago. This is the same time that Pastor Lazaro and his congregation started praying for a visit by a North American church. I don’t believe in coincidence. We found plenty of things within the church and were able to bless them with things. Pastor Lazaro and his congregation were appreciative for the “stuff” but were much more appreciative that we were there to answer a prayer. As with each of our trips, we get just as much from our Nicaraguan brothers and sisters as they got from us. God had a plan!
So the question is where does God have you today and what opportunities is he putting in front of you to accomplish his plan? What is he preparing you for? Take advantage of the opportunities in front of you today and hang on tight. God had a plan!
Where We Go
Base camp during your NRN mission trip is a wonderful little slice of heaven-on-earth called The Quinta Primavera. This is where we eat, sleep, prepare and wind-down at the end of our busy days. It’s beautiful yet basic – and just exactly what we need to get our job done.
There is a main house with a kitchen, a big dining area, lounge and a few bedrooms. The rocking chair laden front porch is where we meet for morning devotional and evening planning sessions – or just to catch up with our teammates and new friends about the events of the day.
The grounds are beautifully landscaped and help to create a bit of an oasis like atmosphere and welcome respite after challenging days in the field.
First timers are always wondering what the food is like. In a word – amazing! This may be the only mission trip where you sweat off 10 pounds and still go home five pounds heavier than when you arrived.
We start each morning with a huge breakfast of local fruit, fresh squeezed juices, rice and beans (so good that you’ll be looking for it at home), breads and usually two different main options. Dinners are hearty and delicious meals that aren’t very different than what you might get at home – chicken, beef, pasta, salads and plenty of veggies. These are served Nicaragua-style – which is really a nice approach to seasoning that is subtlety flavorful but not spicy. Save room for dessert, especially if it is homemade Tres Leches cake. The women who cook for us are as sweet as their food is good – you’re in for a treat at the dining table in The Quinta.
Sleeping quarters for most people will be in a room in one of the small buildings that surround the main building. Think “bunk house”. While there are a few rooms for couples, most rooms have multiple bunk beds. Bathrooms are attached to each room but when there’s a big shower shift you might head over to the detached shower facility.
Towels and linens are provided. Many groups arrive with just enough clothes to fit in their carry-on bag so that they can pack their checked luggage to the gills with sponsor gifts, donations and tools for the trip. Fortunately, the housekeeping staff will do your wash at a great rate – 12 pieces for $5.00. So don’t worry about not having enough clothes, particularly when you can sweat through several changes in a single day.
For the safety-minded, you’ll be glad to know that the property is completely secured by a large fence and electrical security system. We also have a guard on duty 24/7 to mind the property and open the front gate.
About 40 NRN groups go through The Quinta every year and everyone has the same great experience. When you get home and think about Nicaragua, this may be one of the first images that comes to mind.
What We Do
The purpose and projects of NRN mission trips are as diverse as the churches we partner with in the United States! A trip’s focus is determined by the sending church and typically reflects areas of continued interest, investment and relationships that have developed over the years. Generally speaking, the trip will be connected with one or more of the ministry areas of NRN and work inside the local communities served by our partner Pastors.
Train pastors on theological topics. Plan and run a woman’s retreat. Conduct a marriage counseling seminar. Perform at local churches with your home choir. Advise teachers on behavioral management techniques. Perform a puppet show to teach the gospel. Go on an overnight retreat with the men of a local church. Evaluate students for admission into the Special Needs program. Install a computer network in a classroom. Explain new crop yield techniques to Nicaraguan farmers.
Erect a shelter for a remote church plant. Work on a phase of construction of a new neighborhood home. Pour a concrete floor over an existing dirt one. Build a house for the pastor of a new church plant. Build a performance stage for a church. Dig a septic tank for a school. Demolish the walls of an existing structure in preparation for new construction. Distribute food to the homes of needy families. Organize a sports camp for local children. Take graduating students on a field trip. Take special needs children on a visit to the zoo. Fish with local villagers from their boats.
Conduct medical and dental clinics in local villages. Run a health fair for neighborhood children and their families. Vaccinate children against swine flu. Perform eye exams so students can be fitted for glasses. Administer physical therapy with special needs children.
The students in NRN schools come from families lacking the resources to access appropriate medical care. In fact, ninety percent of the population in Nicaragua is poorly served by public facilities that are under-equipped and inadequately staffed. Basic education in nutrition and preventative health is almost non-existent in the communities that we serve. Many children arrive at our schools each day suffering from a range of untreated conditions that impair their quality of life and their ability to learn. Malnutrition. Poor eye sight. Infections. Neuromuscular diseases. Severe mouth pain. These are just a few of the common issues among children who drink unsafe water, live in unsanitary conditions and are often fortunate to get one meal each day.
Against this agonizing backdrop, NRN has always endeavored to bring an element of medical care to the schools and communities we serve. For years, the best we could manage were periodic mission trips by committed medical community volunteers from the United States. Our medical volunteers arrive and set up clinics in schools and their surrounding communities, attempting to see as many people as possible during their week in the country. And as powerful as their immediate impact may be, they often leave frustrated by what they see, recognizing that so much more is left to be done.
A few years ago NRN was fortunate to receive the financial support needed to hire the first full-time doctor to work with our students. More recently, Dr. Karla Valle, a Nicaraguan pediatrician, has joined us in the fight to improve the health and wellness of the 1,800+ children who attend our four schools. Having a full-time doctor to tend after the needs of our school children is a huge blessing to NRN. But by limiting the scope of her work to just the attending students, we are still well short of being able to provide the level of care needed by the rest of the people in our communities.
There is so much left to do in this area of ministry. If you are a medical professional, please consider coming on one of the medical ministry trips that we run during the year. We are always in need of physicians, surgeons, ophthalmologists, dentists, nurses and physical therapists. Otherwise, NRN is appreciative of any financial contributions you might consider to help pay for expensive medicines, surgeries and special treatments.
Organize a sports camp for local children. Take graduating students on a field trip. Take special needs children on a visit to the zoo. Fish with local villagers from their boats. Eat at a local restaurant with your sponsor child and their family.
In Nicaragua, the need is so great that your interests, skills and gifts can most assuredly be put to good use. Your first short term mission trip is the perfect way to begin to understand NRN and the people of this beautiful country. Perhaps that visit will lead you to discover a calling to a longer term commitment to Nicaragua or a heart for missions that can be put to use in your local church and community.
Please visit our Short Term Missions FAQ.